20th July 2017

Barbara talks to us about her family

Last week, WHISC had a day out for their volunteers at the International Slavery Museum.

I first visited the museum in 2014 after seeing the film 12 Years A Slave. Shamefully, slavery is still not an issue of the past. It still goes on in many parts of the world – including our own, if you consider people trafficking.

Unfortunately, I had to cut that visit short as I found it too harrowing to come face to face with how people had been treated. So I was a bit apprehensive about visiting the museum again.

I need not have worried. Visiting with a group of friends made a big difference – as did our guide, Barbara, who really brought the museum alive with her knowledge and passion for the subject.

What I particularly liked about the museum was that it showed the journey of the slaves from the kind of culture they came from, what they went through during transportation, to the kind of conditions they lived in as slaves. It really gave me an understanding of how horrific it must’ve been. I also found it shocking to learn that their compatriots – albeit from rival tribes – sold them into slavery.

Having been a student of Graphic Design, I also enjoyed the exhibition of Cuban posters for African liberation. I found them striking for their bright colours but also for their impactful message.

At the end of the tour, as Barbara’s family features in the museum, she talked to us about her family history. Again, her knowledge and passion shone through and it was a really quite illuminating end to our tour.

The group was then treated to tea and cake at the cafe. So, unlike the first time I visited, I left on a bit of a high afterwards. I felt that I had really gained a much better appreciation of this shameful part of humanity without being traumatised by it.

On the off-chance that he is reading this, I would like to end with an appeal to President Obama to come visit the museum. Barbara is really keen for you to visit but please do ensure you visit on a Thursday as that is the one day of the week she volunteers there. Thank you!

For more pictures from WHISC’s visit to the International Slavery Museum, please click here.